Fancy dress, Dress ups, and an excuse to be silly
Where I grew up, Hallowe’en was huge. Kids competed for best costume that would fit overtop of the raingear. We travelled in packs, avoiding the dentist’s house and the house with the courtyard and the old Chinese man who did nothing but scream at us for knocking on his door. We knew the rules, too. If the porchlights were off, then the homeowners weren’t participating. If there was a pumpkin on the doorstep but the lights were off, the house was out of candy! Trick or Treating didn’t start until 5pm and was over by 7pm. And no eating any candy until Mom & Dad had checked it for razors and tampering. This is an interesting article about that, by the way.
But of course, that was in Canada. Here in NZ it’s a whole ‘nother story. Hallowe’en isn’t a culturally done thing. And, like Christmas, it really doesn’t work when the sun shines until 8pm so there’s no shadows or darkness to show up your fantastic pumpkin carving. Not to mention that pumpkins aren’t orange here, anyways. I’ve noticed the neighbourhood kids don’t really even bother making a decent costume. So, in our house, it’s fallen by the wayside. Some friends of ours (one American, another spend several years in Canada) have a Hallowe’en party and we usually go to that instead.
Around the interwebz within the last couple of days, I’ve been reading a lot of anti-Hallowe’en blogs.
People are against a “dark” holiday that glorifies the evil and supernatural. They mention the commercialism in that everyone is expected to spend lots of money on a super cool costume and bags of candy that you don’t even get to eat – you have to give away to the neighbourhood kids.
And okay, I get the commercialism thing. But the whole “dark” business? From a society that televises the news, murder, rape, vampires, werewolves, and zombies, plays games called “Warcraft,” “Plants Vs. Zombies,” and “Angry Birds” and is convinced that psychics and mediums can converse with ghosts? Heh. As the Kiwis say, “Yeah, Nah.” Not buying it.
Don’t get me started on Samhain and All Hallow’s Eve either. It’s not the same thing. If you’ve done your research and reading, you’d know Samhain isn’t a “dark” holiday either. Except of course, that it’s marking a transition from long days to long nights. I admit I giggle a bit when a church says it’s against “Pagan holidays” when the timing of Easter and Christmas (and many of the traditions) were chosen to coincide with Ostara and Yule.
Hallowe’en is very commercial, yes. But at the base of it, it’s really just an excuse to play dress ups and be silly, and get a bit of candy for it. You don’t want to participate? Then don’t. It’s that easy. Let other people have their fun.